Learned Behaviors

The puzzle is too hard, the piece wont fit. What does the four year old do? “AHHHHHHHHH I can’t do it! Too hard!”



I walk over, look and see how there are two pieces that if turned the right way, the whole work would be complete and this activity could be finished! One of the concepts we have at the program I am employed at (and I stand by) is children are to finish the work they choose, and to not leave tasks unfinished.  He screams more and gives me a pout.  I ask him

“Can you please use your manners”

“I cant do it. I need help”

“I see you are stuck, but I have a job of my own, can you try it until I can come and see?” He nods and tearfully turns back to his work.  I finish my job and come back to him, nothing has been changed, modified or tried. 

“I see you haven’t tried anything.  I cannot help you until you try”


“I cannot help you when you are not using good manners” At this I walk away and help another child who is working quietly and with good manners.  In a few minutes he dies down to blubbering, still shouting occasionally.  Then he stops, quietly walks over to me and taps me on the shoulder.

“Hi! I see you have used your good manners.  What can I help you with?”

“I cant figure out the piece, can you come help me please?”

At this point he has turned to a positive well mannered behavior so I respond

“Yes, since you asked so nicely I can come and sit with you” So I follow him back to his table and watch.  He putters around and is waiting for my answer.  I give him a tip, without giving the answer

“I see that you need to remove a few pieces, then try a different way” At this he takes out the two troublesome pieces, and rearranges.  He finally gets to the last piece, its going to fit, he wiggles it in and ta-da! He cheers, he celebrates and is happy! He looks at me:

“Thank you!”

“All I did was give you a tip, you did the work” Smile.  “how do you feel?”

“I feel great”

One of the hardest points we have as role models (parent, grandparent, teacher, guardian) is to not jump in when a child with a problem screams and acts out, but to guide them to ask for help in a nice way and to respond in such.  When you help a child to learn that good manners are helpful and screaming upset moments (no matter how faked, or real) are not accetpable, you are guiding a childs behavior and hopefully setting them up for a stronger foot hold in society.  So remember:

~Reward good manners

~Ignore or tell a child that bad manners will not get a response or help

~Let a child get upset, by not acknowledging, you take away the power of the negative

~Always remind a child afterwards of the good they accomplished, not by pushing “GOOD BOY” but “You did it! You have(accomplished work, describe briefly) and how do you feel?”


My History Repeating Itself


I was having a great chat on the phone with an old friend past Wednesday night. It was when I was going over my past terrible drama with work, and discussing past history, that I realized history had repeated itself. This time, again, I was taking the blame for a situation that really didnt affect the world around us, but I was drug through the mudd and called dumb as such. Lets go back.

“Common, its almost lunch time!” My friend called to me as we crossed the road to the high school across the street. Of course, the high school had the vending machines. We were going across to get chips for her. As her best friend it was my job to get the chips for her. The money I had was actually for swimming that afternoon, but she told me that if I sneak in with the rest of the group, then I wont be noticed, or have to pay. Therefore, my loonie was better spent on her, as I was her Best friend. After punching the buttons into the machine, she selected what she was getting, and we rushed back across the quiet street of our town. As we strolled back in the hallway, suddenly our third grade teacher stepped into the hallway… dah dah DAHAHAHAHAH…

“What are you girls doing?”



“We havent even said grace yet and you are out of the building?” suddenly, my friend pipes up…

“Its not my fault, she makes me spend her dollar-”

“What dollar?”

“Her swimming dollar on snacks”… well after that lets just say it got bad. So I got blamed for convincing her to come with me to buy snacks… The situation being I was told I had to go and spend my dollar to buy her snacks (which she said was for me, I never got to eat them) that I ate and was sneaking into the pool without paying. So my punishment? In school suspension for a week. I remember afterwards how if I went near the other girls in the school I was ignored for trying to tell on her. After my week of in school suspension, the other girls would come near me and mock me for trying to tattle tale, or they would blow dandelions in my face as a sign of being below their status. What did this teach me? That I cannot trust others for their intentions.

This year I got pinned by an investigation by a co-worker that quit, then called a complaint that resulted in me being blamed and ignored by other girls who she had under her arm for the past three months!! Now I am under supervision, unable to close or open shop (which is fantastic in some ways), all because some girl couldn’t talk through her issues, come forward with what she thought was wrong, or even talk to me? Point being? I cannot trust others for their intentions. Twenty years later and people are still untrustable.

I wish I was a kid again…

When I hear people say this, my thought immediately goes to early bed times while the fun adults stayed up, never getting to choose what’s for supper, constantly being in a class I hated, with homework for hours after, and never getting what I wanted.  What is so inspiring about a childhood lost? I may be in a lucky position that I work as a preschool teacher, where everyday I get to watch children learn, grow, create, and I get a chance to be part of it all over again.  But why must we yearn for something that we will never again achieve in lost memories? It was yesterday that I saw a picture quote that summed up best what I wish I could tell these people who yearn for the yesterdays:

Hard to Be Happy

Find a passion about today, something that you love, a work that you are passionate about, and a love that takes your breath away.  Now it is all good and well to spout these words, you say, but to actually have that is beyond me.  Why? If you have a job that makes you cringe at the start of each day, why not strive for doing something that you are proud of? Want to be a kid? Go work with them, or find a person to spend the rest of your life and start a family.  Cannot find love? Why are you looking so hard! I admit, it tends to arrive when you least expect it, want it or see it, but when it hits, bam.  Don’t let it get away, and prove that you are worth it, and so are they.  Fear the future? Why! Start planning for it! When I was in college I had to take a class centered about the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, changes your mindset.  So instead of fearing, you are preparing, instead of being constantly work driven, you are reminded of the little things in life, instead of lacking a passion, it will help you find yours.  There are always answers, you just need to know where to look!

So, instead of missing those times that appeared so golden, admire what you have now! As said in one of my favorite books On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls, ‘we have a house, food and a bed, we are rich’.  Be proud, and be passionate!

Let them.

Allowing a child time to dress allows them time to grow

Allowing a child time to dress allows them to be responsible.

When at work I tend to see a lot of hurried adults who in turn hurry their children.  Sometimes this is necessary to get to certain appointments, get home for supper that’s cooking, or to pick up another sibling at another location.  But one habit of the parent that confuses me, is when the child is purposefully dawdling, refusing to get dressed, or continually saying “I cant” and the parent ends up doing the task for the child.  What is this teaching them? That if they wine, complain, or bother enough that their parents  will do what they want.  These parents are allowing their child to pass off on their responsibilities and if they try hard enough, someone else will do their work for them.

One parent I saw comes in to pick up her little boy, who is three and a half.  He throws down his work, runs over to mommy to give a big hug, tells her all his stories about his day, then goes and puts away his work.  Here is where the situation turns sticky.  Mother is now over by the hooks, gathering her child’s pictures, putting his bag in order, and gathering his lunch kit.  He comes over to her, she asks him to take off his shoes and put them on the shelf.  He looks at her with the biggest eyes ‘I cant”.  She looks at him again, and says to please take off his shoes, they still have to collect his brother. At this point he sits on the floor, gives a big pout and wines “I cant mommy”. Well this continues on for about five minutes till the child is having a tantrum on the floor, and the mother ends up throwing everything on the floor, grabbing the shoes, taking them off, shoving on the boots and stating ‘there, I did it now, is this what you want?’ and storms off. Yes mother, this is what he wanted.  You have played into his game and allowed him to be in charge of the situation! Sadly, this happens a lot with parents being too tired to allow the child the time to understand that this isn’t their job, but the child’s! This isn’t a time for a fit but a chance to be responsible!

When a child is starting to pout, there is a reason for I, the child is craving attention, and is hoping for the parent to indulge in this simple, though frustrating, act.  In this instance, a good response is ” I see this is a big job and it can seem hard, but if you show me how you cant do it, maybe we can figure this out?”  By responding with an I message, by recognizing their emotions and allowing them a chance to try, you are allowing a person to grow, feel recognized, and a chance to  be responsible.  But just stating “do it”, the child feels ignored and becomes more upset! This really is one of my favorite answers, for if a child can show you how hard it is, sometimes it works out well, and sometimes you can actually see where the problem is! If a child does the job, ask them how they feel, if they are proud for taking care of themselves!

When a child is allowed to get someone else to take care of their task, what are we teaching the child? That if they wine, fight and complain enough, then they are never held accountable for their jobs.  Where does it stop? Soon the parent is allowing the child to control the parents through life decisions such as homework, or whose loss it is when the job looses an item, or whose responsibility is it when a job is done wrong.  For instance, a teenage boy who had a paper route was given his paycheck.  He was so proud of his accomplishments that he decided already on what treat he was going to get himself.  But unfortunately, the paycheck was lost.  When this happened he had a freak out at mom, complained about how he couldn’t afford his new bike, how was he supposed to deal with this! What does mother do? She writes him out a check of her own money (instead of contacting the company for a new one, or getting the child to earn the money back), child has learned, he raises his voice and gets upset, mommy will fix it.  Does it stop there? What if the adult looses his job, and cannot pay rent, instead of finding a new job, having savings for an emergency (which was all spent on entertainment….), calls up mommy who lends him the money so he doesn’t have to be responsible! Parents, please! Teach a child at a young age that being responsible is more than just a tempter tantrum, its setting them up for life.

Teach them their jobs, their tasks, how to be proud of their accomplisments and how to be responsible! Allow them to do their jobs, their responsibilities and their tasks.  Let them.

Hurry Up!

Imagine, if you can, you have been given a great task.  It seems difficult, but you are ready to button down and try your best.  You have gotten your materials together, and your ready to step up.

“Hurry Up! You need to get this done”

Yes, you do, but the voice is upset, making you nervous now.  But you still gather the wit to try again.

“Will you get this done! I cant wait on you!”

Great, now your not able to get this done on their schedule.  You reach out to try

“That’s it, I’ll do it for you” The task is ripped from your hand, they do it for you.  Now what have you learned?

You have learned that you cannot do this, or possibly more tasks, and your ego is crushed.  Your self esteem is bruised.  or you have learned that if you pause long enough, someone else will take care of your job for you. 

This is what we are teaching children.  Every day, a child has a thousand jobs they can do, they can get dressed (if you let them, guide them), they can help with food prep, eat their food, clean up, do their crafts, their play, their bathroom habits.  But how fair is it, to rip it from them, because they for many reasons, cannot do it like you, as fast as you, or as competently?

This world is letting children grow up with bruised egos, damaged esteem, and lacking the will to complete their jobs.

How logical are we being towards the future, when we cannot take the time to allow the person all chances to grow up properly?

Can you imagine?